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Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR)

Last updated: June 10, 2017

What Does Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) Mean?

Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is a lifesaving first-aid procedure that is used when someone is not breathing normally, or his or her heart has stopped. CPR provides oxygen carrying blood to the brain and heart by manual pumping of the chest and mouth to mouth artificial respiration. The procedure needs to be continued until a proper medical care provider takes over.

Safeopedia Explains Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR)

Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) procedure for adults consists of the following activities:

  • Chest compressions - This is done to maintain circulatory flow of oxygenated blood to the brain and the heart. The first aid provider places the heels of his or her hands, on top of one another with fingers locked, over the breastbone at the center of the patient’s chest. Then using his or her body weight, presses straight down, compressing the chest about 5-6cm, on the patient’s chest at a rate of 100 times per minute.
  • Artificial respiration - This is done to provide oxygenation of the blood at the lungs. The first aid provider provides breaths by exhaling into the subject's mouth or nose about 18 times per minute. This process of externally providing ventilation is referred to as artificial respiration.

The primary purpose of CPR is to provide flow of oxygenated blood to the brain and the heart. Delay of oxygenated blood flow in these two organs causes tissue death, which can ultimately cause permanent brain damage, heart failure or even death. Although the survival rates and neurologic outcomes are low, it is better to do something than to do nothing at all when the difference between someone’s doing something and doing nothing, could be someone's life.


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